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Livermore: Presenting 'Barber of Seville' in all its glory

New pricing to help newcomers discover magic of opera

Livermore Valley Opera opens "The Barber of Seville," one of the most recognizable comedic operas of all time, on March 9 at the Bankhead Theater. The fully staged production with orchestra and subtitles will run for two weekends, directed by Rob Herriot.

"This production brings together such experienced opera talent, including singers from the New York Metropolitan Opera and other great stages," said artistic director Erie Mills, herself an alumnus of the Met.

"Thomas Glenn, who will sing the role of Almaviva, holds a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording. Peter Strummer as Bartolo returns to the Bankhead, as well as Shirin Eskandani as Rosina, and Alex DeSocio as Figaro," she added.

Strummer and DeSocio appeared in Livermore Valley Opera's production of "Don Pasquale," and Eskandani was in "Cinderella."

"Barber" is based on a classic French comedy that tells of the clever barber Figaro and how he assists Count Almaviva in winning the hand of his beloved Rosina by outwitting her lecherous guardian, Doctor Bartolo.

The opera is known for its riotous comedy, memorable arias and spectacular ensembles. Beethoven was quoted saying to Rossini: "I congratulate you. It will be played as long as Italian opera exists."

"It's an audience favorite for opera veterans and newcomers alike," Mills said. "It is an opera full of drama and misunderstanding, and yet, the right people wind up together and nobody dies. And with the projection of English supertitles, the audience won't miss a single laughable line."

The red carpet will be rolled out for all opera attendees for a photo-op against a backdrop featuring Livermore Valley Opera's newly designed logo. The ticket price includes a lecture an hour before curtain time and an artists' reception in the lobby immediately after each performance.

An opening night gala, for an extra $95, begins with a wine reception at 4 p.m. and includes dinner at Uncle Yu's at the Vineyard. Stage director Herriot and music director Alexander Katsman will be available to meet with guests and provide opera insights.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. March 9; 2 p.m. March 10; 7:30 p.m. March 16; and 2 p.m. March 17.

Livermore Valley Opera has new pricing to encourage younger people to explore the magical world of opera. Regular tickets are $42-$90; 40 and under are $40 for all seating sections except tier 1 (rows F and G center); ages 20 and under are $20.

Purchase tickets at the Bankhead box office, 2400 First St. in Livermore; at www.LVOpera.com; or by calling 373-6800.

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